Weather Forecast


Mitchell School District, MTI and JPII closed Friday

Category 5 hurricanes have hit 6 land areas dead-on in 2017, more than ever before

Debris of what used to be the entrance to Foxy's, a restaurant damaged by Hurricane Irma, at Great Harbor in Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, Sept. 13, 2017. The island of Jost Van Dyke, with 298 residents, set up a de facto command center at a bar with working generators. (Erika P. Rodriguez/copyright 2017 The New York Times)

The 2017 Atlantic has not only been super active so far, but also super unlucky. Whereas in some past busy hurricane seasons, land areas have avoided some of the most extreme storms - this year they have been a magnet.

Category 5 hurricanes have directly hit six land masses head on, leaving devastation in their wake almost every time. While just two separate hurricanes, Irma and Maria, did all the dirty work, they repeatedly found areas to target.

Brenden Moses, a researcher at the National Hurricane Center, found that of all Category 5 landfalls on record in the Atlantic since 1851, one-quarter have occurred this season. This is a remarkable statistic.

However, it's important to remember monitoring of hurricanes was much more difficult prior to the advent of weather satellites in the late 1960s when storms may have been missed. That said, there is no precedent in the last half century of Category 5s striking land so frequently in the same season.

Category 5 hurricanes are the most destructive storms on Earth, bearing peak winds of at least 157 mph. The National Hurricane Center offers this description of the destruction they leave behind, which is consistent with what we've witnessed with this year's storms:

"A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months."